Biochemical mechanism may lead to new cancer prevention and treatment strategies
Scientists at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital have discovered a novel biochemical process that plays a critical role in helping cells in the body respond to DNA damage, such as that caused by exposure to radiation, environmental toxins or free radicals.
The findings could lead to new approaches to prevent cancer, better ways to treat cancer and to the development of sensitive methods determining whether people have been exposed to radiation or environmental toxins, according to the researchers.
A report on this discovery, published in the current issue of the journal Nature, describes this critical early step in a cells response to DNA damage. This step, a chemical modification of an enzyme called ATM, allows the enzyme to initiate a series of events that ultimately halt the growth of a damaged cell and help the cell survive.
Bonnie Cameron | EurekAlert!
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